Moydan Art

Intuition, Mathematically Composed

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My love for art started at a very young age; I was in junior high when I decided I wanted to pursue art as a career. But school counselors discouraged me from that choice and I was directed into the field of electronics. Eventually the math, logic and programming from my work with computers aided me in my art, but at the time I was discouraged with the course my career had taken and so I started attending art classes in my spare time. After learning William Alexander's brush techniques for creating landscapes, I had the good fortune to take lessons in figure painting from Homer Spurlock. He was using a technique, learned from Julian Ritter, that produced soft, glowing figures. After four years of studying with Homer, he encouraged me to go to the Laguna Beach School of Art to study with Sueo Serisawa, a student of Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

Sueo Serisawa had a great influence on me and my art. There were two pieces of advice that he gave me that have stayed with me ever since. One was that I shouldn't try to make a living as an artist until I was satisfied with my level of proficiency. The reason for this, he explained, was because as soon as I started to make a living with my art I would have to paint only what was selling and my ability to learn, change and get better would be greatly diminished. The second piece of advice Sueo gave me, which quickly made becoming satisfied with my level of proficiency seem impossible, was that I should learn to compose my art with structure, a seemingly simple premise with which I was to become obsessed.

At first, I thought of structure as merely using my intuition to put areas of color together like building blocks to make an image. However, I soon became concerned with the sizes of those areas and how they related to each other to enhance the final image. Then I wondered how placement of those areas affected the outcome. And, as if that wasn't enough, I realized I needed to put all this together with a balance of unity and diversity. The task initially seemed impossible. Then I came to think that maybe the works of art commonly accepted as masterpieces, were considered masterpieces for the exact reason that they at least approached, if not perfected, some level of successfully balancing all these aspects of structure. This led me to believe that with persistence I could figure out a system to correctly put all the pieces of the puzzle together.

I always have, and always will, admire artists that create images of great beauty by using intuition or relying on their feelings alone. I used intuition for most of my work until the early 1990's, when, while studying the Golden Mean, I had my first big breakthrough. I discovered how to relate three or more art elements, such as line, area, texture and value, to themselves, each other and to the final image, all with a balance of unity and diversity. My next big breakthrough came in 2005 when, while playing with a math puzzle called the magic square, I came up with a method to balance the visual weight of various art elements with each other, even when the artwork is rotated at any angle. This is helpful if one wants a stable image without the left side looking like a reflection of the right.

Despite all I had learned, my system was only mathematically valid using black, white and grays. So I had one more hurdle to clear in order to conquer structure: color. Color theory is often based on the standard color wheel but, although the color wheel can be a useful guide when mixing color, it is incomplete because it doesn't take into account the way the human eye perceives color. In 2007, while studying rainbows, I created a mathematical system for working with color that does take into account the way we see, and which shows how every color of every saturation relates to every other.

Although I do have well defined boundaries within which I can use intuition, the final proof for my work is always verified by my mathematical system. Now I finally feel I have utilized the advice given by Sueo Serisawa. Having learned to compose my art with structure, I am satisfied with my proficiency and have changed my focus from the study of art to the creation of art.